Introduction to Chiropractic Examination

Although many people are aware of the job of a chiropractor, not many are aware of how a chiropractic exam is conducted. There are a lot of myths surrounding the exam, and the lack of information means that the people end up believing in these myths.

A chiropractic exam is similar to any standard medical exam in many different ways. The procedures are monitored by healthcare workers and usually begin with the same questions that any medical exam begins with.

The difference between a chiropractic exam and other medical exam lays in the area a chiropractic session deals with. Chiropractors examine the function and the structure of the spine and find out treatment for the ailments you suffer in the region. These treatments are also very different from other sessions. Here is how.

Examination of Pain in the Lower Back

The first chiropractic session that deals with pain in the lower back usually consists of three important parts. The first involves consultation, the second involves physical examination and the last involves case history. To determine the reason for pain, chiropractors often rely on X-ray examination and laboratory analysis.


The first step begins with when the patient meets with the chiropractor and gives a shirt synopsis of the pain in the lower back. Here are some important details that you should not forget to list in front of the chiropractor.

  • The frequency and the duration of the pain
  • Describe the symptoms and what you feel when the pain lasts (for example a burning sensation or a throbbing)
  • What are the areas of pain
  • What are the factors that make the pain feel better
  • What are the factors that make the pain worse

History of the Case

Once chiropractors identify the area of complaint and the type of back pain you are suffering from, they move to the next step. This is the identification of the nature of pain and it involves asking questions and finding out different aspects of the patient’s history that will help in diagnosing the pain. Here are some questions that a chiropractor will ask to determine your history

  • Family History
  • Psychosocial history
  • The nature of your current and past occupations
  • History of medical treatments you have received
  • Your dietary habits
  • Other areas that the chiropractors can dive deep into depending on the answers you give to the questions asked above

Physical Examination

The next part is the main part of the session. This is the utilization of numerous methods to find out the area and spinal segments which need urgent treatment. The physical examination may include motion and static palpation techniques which help in determining spinal segments that can be both restricted in motion or fixated. A chiropractor may also seek help from additional diagnostic test such as

  • An electronic device that measures the skins temperature in the paraspinal region which helps in identifying the spinal region that have a considerably high temperature than the rest of the area. The detection of areas of high temperature in the region is great progress in the diagnostic process
  • The second step is to use an X-ray to find out subluxations (this is the change in the position of the vertebra)

Many chiropractors use a more well-defined biochemical method of treating the bipedal structure completely. This technique helps in balancing the structure from the feet upward.

Chiropractors are usually trained in different methods and are responsible for assessing the various reasons for pain in the lower back. Here are some methods that the chiropractors use to heal the condition

Common Physical Examination Procedures Including Neurologic Procedures

Chiropractors are trained to assess the range of motion, muscle strength, stability and other assessment with the lower back. They can also use neurologic tests which includes nerve root compression, deep tendon, and motor strength coordination etc. The chiropractors are also experienced in performing cardiovascular, orthopedic and various other forms of examinations.

The help of Diagnostic Studies

Another factor that helps chiropractors in reaching a conclusion regarding the chiropractic exam is diagnostic study. This study involves the help of tools such as laboratory diagnostics, neuro diagnostics and radiography.

Evaluation and Management Services

This is usually the first step that chiropractors use in their diagnostic process. Chiropractors are trained in examining the bones, muscles, joints and tendons of the head, spine and other extremities. This also includes other areas of the body that have the purpose of noting all sorts of misalignment, asymmetry, tenderness and defects.

The chiropractors use this experience to detect the condition of the patient and using their expertise to find out a method to the treatment.

Specialized Assessment

Another important aspect of chiropractor training is assessing the range of the stability, motion and muscle strength. This includes the assessment of stability in the motion, the strength of the muscle and its tone. There are other assessments too which help the chiropractors in dealing with the lower back area.

The assessment of lower back pain is not easy. Many chiropractors use the help of the triage concept to classify the low back injuries in three different categories to guide the doctor. The categories of diagnosis include the following procedures.


This includes mechanical back pain present in the lumbar spine. This type of lower back pain is very common amongst patients and usually involves pain that does not have any identifiable cause.


These are conditions that are beyond the world of chiropractic treatment. This means the pain is not due to damage to the joints, tissues or muscles in the back but indicates the presence of something more serious and sinister such as a burn or an open wound. This can mean the presence of an infection, fracture or tumor.

Nerve Problem

Pinching the nerve root in the lower back or compressing it can result in radiculopathy. This means that there is a problem with the nerves in the lower back. This is usually caused by a lumbar herniated disc, spinal stenosis or spondylolisthesis.